Monday, July 2, 2012

#ROW80 - Round Number Next Goals Post

What round are we on now? 2012, Round 3? That sounds about right. This'll be my fourth round as a ROWer. Ah, how words fly...

I've been pretty consistent as far as my goals go from round to round. They work for me. Here's a quick recap of what I usually do:
  • Lesson Learned - I want to learn something every week. Could be craft. Could be marketing. Could be about myself. My theory is that when you're learning, you're progressing... even if you're failing a smaller goal. If you learn from it, it's not time wasted.
  • WIP Progress - When I have a WIP, I want to progress it. Generally, I set a "page count" per day. Word counts bug me, personally. I want dialog (sparser words) to be equally weighted with prose (more words). Why? I like dialog better in my books than large chucks of narration. A page limit encourages me to use the much faster-moving dialog. It's a personal thing. I still track words, but my goal is pages. Similarly if I hit editing (though I usually phrase it as a number of chapters there).
  • Blogging - To me, blogging is both a community building activity as well as writing practice. I have three active blogs. This one, a gaming blog, and a personal blog. Generally, I try to do three posts a week on both this and the gaming blog, checking in monthly on the personal blog. I may cut back on my gaming posts since I've not been playing a lot lately, but for now I think I'm going to leave this up as a stretch goal. It's tough to come up with topics when you're not playing as much, but challenges are good.
  • Reading - I added a fourth goal last time. It started out as a goal to "not" read. I was reading rather than finishing my last project, and I needed to focus. After I finished the project, I joined a group read and had a blast. I'm going to try to look for something like that again. It's a great way for an introvert like me to meet new people. If nothing else, I'll knock out 2-3 books per round. That's at least two, but no more than three. I could read all day, every day... but I need to apply the lessons in those books to my own projects.
That's the gist for me. You'll probably notice one big, fat absent goal that a lot of others put in there. I'm partially ashamed to mention it. A lot of folks have the "I will visit x people" goal. I suppose I could make such a goal, but I have very strict commenting rules for myself. I identify very strongly with functional introverts. That is to say, I'm the type of person that loves 1-on-1 deep conversation about a topic, but flails at a party when people are just making chit-chat. I'm awful at chit-chat. 

Chit-chat is probably a good thing, as people like to feel acknowledged, even if you're not solving world hunger. A lot of times (not always), the "visit x people" goal turns into chit chat. The thought of it makes me squirm. Not if you do it. No. But of the incredible pressure I feel to have to come up with something sufficiently interesting. Don't ask me why. I consider it a bit of a dysfunction. This is an extrovert's world.

So I don't force myself to "rack up" the visits. Instead, I just make an effort to lurk. That is, I often read a bunch of the entries but say nothing. The traffic looks nice, and I'm no good at forcing myself to say something. I think fellow ROWers could agree, though, that when I do say something... I try my best to make it memorable, thoughtful, or constructive. It's great to have people to cheer you on, and for that, chit chat works well. I'm just a terrible cheerleader, so instead... I want to connect. But you can't force connections. They're organic, they just happen.

That's a rather long side-musing on visits, eh? I'm not sure if I'm explaining how I feel clearly enough. I don't want someone to read this and think... wow, what a jerk. I like stopping by and saying nice things. Who doesn't like that? Please don't think I'm down on chit chat... I just feel awkward at it. And instead of letting awkwardness rule me and hiding forever in my corner... I allow myself to only comment when inspiration strikes. It's a compromise of sorts.

Is that completely bonkers?

Rock on to you "visit x" folks! If you read this, add one more each to pick up my lazy-slack. :-) I'll be over here, lurking as usual.

That's all for now, see you in the Round!

7 comments:

Lee McAulay said...

I'm with you on the chit-chat. I joined Twitter, after many reservations about its usefulness, and found myself thinking it was like yelling in a crowded shopping mall. While everyone else does the same...
Maybe you could comment on the other posts on someone's blog, not just the ROW80 posts?

Matt said...

Right, so the trade off becomes time then. I could visit a lot of ROW posts or dig through back content from fewer ROW members. I actually end up doing a little of both. And people who comment here generally get first visits :-). Sort of just depends on the day.

Lauralynn Elliott said...

Good luck with all your goals, Matt!

I want to say something here. You talked about how you're not great with chitchat and aren't a great cheerleader. But your comments on my blog have been some of my favorites! Your sense of humor always shines through, and I REALLY appreciate humor. I love your comments. You're a very interesting person. :)Okay, that's what I wanted to say.

Matt said...

That's good to hear. I go for a quality over quantity thing I guess is more accurate. I have a great appreciation for the folks that can visit numerous sites and leave something thoughtful. I guess I don't feel like I'm always very clever, so I try to save my best stuff for when it can really count. Like when someone is having a bad week or particular inspiration strikes me.

It's sort of the difference between setting out a bunch of single candles or a whole candelabra. Both can generate the same light, one's just a little more spread out. It's the spreading I'm not so good at, I guess.

Anyway, I always feel like I should do more, because there's a lot of good people in this challenge. It's a neat thing to be a part of and I'm thankful for the support I've gotten. Still, we all must work within ourselves.

caswebb said...

good luck with round3 :)

Elizabeth Anne Mitchell said...

Matt, I'm with Lauralynn. You definitely leave some of the best comments I get. As far as lurking, I think it means a lot that you're reading. I can (and do) look at page views, and am heartened to see that someone is reading the posts.

I, too, feel that I should do more, but as you say, there are only so many hours in a day. I agree one hundred percent about the chit-chat. I stick out at parties as the introverted one in the corner looking uneasy. I do fine with a small group of friends, but the obligatory day job cocktail parties--yeesh!

You've said it best, "we all must work within ourselves." It took me about ten years longer than you to figure it out, but I'm glad I finally did. Have a wonderful holiday :)

Matt said...

@cas Thanks! You too!

@LLE - Wonderful. At least I'm not alone, right? Comfort in numbers... or discomfort, depending on in the numbers are expecting me to talk or not. ;-p

Hope you have a wonderful holiday as well.

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